- What Is a Military School?
- History of Military Schools
- Daily Life at Military School
- Military School Discipline
- Why Military Schools?
- Who Are They For?
- Who Are They Not For?
- Alternatives to Military Schools
- Is Your Teen in Trouble?
- Military School Lingo
- Military Prep Schools
- Helpful Resources
- Articles on Teen Issues
Is Your Child Under Too Much Stress? Find Out How Much
Stress is defined as the way our bodies and minds react to life changes. Stress does not always have a negative impact, depending on the source of the stress and how much stress a teen is under. A healthy amount of stress can motivate teenagers to perform better in school, but a tremendous amount of stress can lead to physical and emotional problems. Adolescence is a period of significant changes, including physical, emotional, social, and academic changes, and many teens are under more stress now than they will be at any other time in their life. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found one third of teens in the United States feel stressed out on a daily basis. So, what causes teens to feel this much stress and how can parents help?
Causes of teen stress
Stress can be caused by peer interactions including the need for acceptance and the fear of rejection and the pressure teens feel to live up to their parents expectations or to out shine their siblings. When teens can't meet high expectations or through trying to meet those high expectations, children may suffer from frustration, illness, aggression, and depression. The amount of stress teens feel is often multiplied when they struggle internally with their own capabilities. They may not feel that they are smart enough or good enough to live up to other people's expectations.
Other causes of teen stress include:
- Family issues including negligent or abusive parents, the demand for family responsibility when teens are still young, or lack of support
- Parental stress
- Not feeling safe in their neighborhood or school
- Peer pressure
- Bodily changes brought on by puberty
- Inability manage the many activities teens are involved in
Symptoms of teen stress
Teens may be more sensitive to stressors both physically and emotionally. Stress is capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression. Stressed teens show signs of emotional disabilities, sleep disorders, aggressive behavior, shyness, social phobia and often lack interest in otherwise enjoyable activities.
Signs your teen is under too much stress
There are a number of symptoms and behavior changes in teens that can signal they are under too much stress. If your teen complains of a stomachache and diarrhea, for example, before exams, a much anticipated date, or other major event, these symptoms could be brought on by stress. Sometimes, your teen may have chronic digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or colitis which are both closely connected to stress.
You may find your teen is depressed or withdrawn. They may also exhibit behaviors that are not typical of their personality, such as yelling and hitting others, and even laughing or crying for no reason. Your teen may blame other people for bad things that happen to him.
Your teen may appear uninterested and may opt out of family get-togethers, may not eat well-balanced meals on a regular basis, and may not take part in activities she used to enjoy. Their grades may slip, and their attitude toward friends and siblings may change. These signs are more pronounced when your teen is not sleeping or has turned to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope.
Parents can help
Parents can help if they stay in tune with what their teen is feeling. Parents need to talk to their teen to find out what is happening in their life. Compliment your teen when he achieves something, use humor to buffer bad feelings, and don't allow your teen to become overloaded with after-school activities and responsibilities. Parents should also set a good example by demonstrating self-control and coping skills.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that parents also help teens learn to reduce their own stress levels by
- Eating healthy and exercising regularly
- Avoid illegal drugs and alcohol
- Engage in role play to prepare for stressful situations
- Learning to be happy with your performance when you've tried your hardest
- Building a group of friends that support and you and can help you cope in a positive way
Parents can be involved in many of these steps teens can take to reducing their own stress. For example, exercise with your teen. It is a great way to burn up excess energy and stress, plus it is a good opportunity to communicate with your teen. Role playing with your teen can help them prepare for stressful situations. You can teach them techniques to handle stressful and difficult people. Also, encourage your teen to be happy with their accomplishments. Don't encourage you teen's over achieving behavior when it is damaging to their health. Help them understand that we don't always have to win, as long as we've tried our best. Parents can also seek professional help for their teen when stress is becoming damaging.
Fast Facts About Adolescents
By age 13, 53 percent of American girls are "unhappy with their bodies." This grows to 78 percent by the time girls reach seventeen.